Friday, August 16, 2013
I'd like to take a moment to recommend talktomeinkorean.com to anyone who's studying the language right now. It is hands-down the best resource I've ever used to study Korean (and I've used a lot of them). The lessons are clear and modular, supplemented on notes in PDF form, and there's a comments section where you can try out your language skills with the instructors' assistance. There are also printable "workbooks," advanced-level interviews for listening practice, and a store with extra audiobook lessons for under $5. I haven't used any of the extra lessons yet, but judging by the quality of the free materials I'm guessing they're pretty good.)
I actually heard about the site a long time ago, but didn't get into it until the last few weeks. After returning to Korea in 2011, I took a Korean class for several months, and one of my classmates recommended this as a good way to practice. Since I didn't think I'd be returning to Korea, I glanced at the site but didn't really pay attention. Now that I'm going back, though (job offers starting to come in!!), I'm taking my language study much more seriously, and TTMIK is really a godsend.
Most of the site users--according to the comments here, anyway--are under 20, and from a number of different countries--mostly non-English-speaking. Since the lessons are all in English (interspersed with Korean, of course), the abilities of these polyglot learners are definitely impressive. There are definitely some English speakers among them, though, and I can't help but be a little shamefully grateful that they haven't graduated from college yet. If sites like this really catch on--and the popularity of K-pop continues--there may well be an influx of really interested, enthusiastic, Korean-speaking English teachers to South Korea in a few years. Since the job market there is already getting competitive, it might be time for the rest of us to brush up our skills.
I first lived in SK from 2007-2011, and though I had a wonderful experience, I never picked up as much of the language as I would have liked. This was partly because of laziness (isn't it always?) and partly because I lived in Gimpo, and hadn't heard of any convenient language classes nearby. The textbooks available at the time were pretty terrible, and even though some of my Korean friends were up for language exchanges, we always ended up gossiping in English because it was easy and we were friends.
This time, however, I'm hoping to take the KLPT and/or the TOPIK, so I'm quite serious about studying. Though the lessons in TTMIK aren't quite as helpful as face-to-face instruction, when combined with daily immersion they should give me an excellent foundation.
In other news, I'm kind of developing an Instagram problem.